Can Polar Bears Climb Trees? (6 Things You Need To Know!)

You might have heard or seen bears climbing trees. But can polar bears climb trees? 

The shortest answer –

No! Polar bears cannot climb trees. The main reason for this has to do with the tundra vegetation of the region.

Because the region lacks trees, polar bears also lost the ability to climb trees.

Now the question is, why have polar bears forgotten how to climb? Why have they evolved without the ability to climb?

Continue reading below to find out!

Table of Contents

Why Can’t Polar Bears Climb Trees?

Even though most of the bear family can climb trees, polar bears cannot. They are unable to use this skill for several different reasons. 

The inability to climb trees did not happen all of a sudden. It was a slow process. 

Below are the three main reasons why polar bears can’t climb trees. 

Arctic Region Doesn’t Have Trees

The region polar bears live in doesn’t have trees. If you imagine a polar bear’s region, you will see a large white frosty land.

Tundra vegetation means the main greens of that region are small shrubs, grasses, mosses, sedges, and lichens. The absence of trees has influenced their ability to climb trees.

Since the region lacks trees, they are not evolved in a way that will help them climb trees. 

They Are Too Heavy

Did you know that polar bears are actually larger than other bears?

In fact, they are the largest living land mammals. And, they weigh way more than brown bears. On average, normal male polar bears weigh around 600 lbs. (272 kg) – 1200 lbs. (544 kg). 

And the average female adult can weigh 400 lbs. (181 kg) – 700 lbs. (317 kg). Being heavyweight prevents them from climbing trees.

However, polar bear cubs can climb trees. But they stop climbing trees when they grow up and become large.

They Do Not Have Predators

The basic need to climb trees for other bears is to camouflage or look out for enemies. Polar bears do not have predators. In fact, they themselves are apex predators.

As polar bears do not need to hide or flee away from their predators, they do not need to climb trees. Moreover, the region where they live has nowhere to hide.

It then makes it stupid for a polar bear to climb a non-existing tree for cover. Polar bears can see if something or someone is approaching them. 

They are also the sole predator of that region preying on seals and other mammals. Above all, polar bears actually do not need trees in their daily lives.

They have evolved to function well without them!

What Can Polar Bears Climb Then?

Can Polar Bears Climb Mountains?

Yes, polar bears can climb mountains. They climb tall cliffs to look for bird eggs and in search of food. 

They climb and cross over high mountain terrains and inclines too. 

Can Polar Bears Climb Cliffs?

A Polar Bear Climbing a Cliff

Yes, polar bears can climb cliffs. Polar bears are good rock climbers and that means they can climb a cliff too. 

Polar bears climb steep cliffs to feed on eggs or other small mammals. 

In a national park in Russia, a polar bear was seen climbing a cliff near the Arctic Ocean to have a snack of seabird eggs.

Can Polar Bears Climb Roofs?

Polar bears cannot climb roofs as they are not natural climbers. 

However, if they enter a human locality they might climb roofs. The same was recorded on a security camera in a Canadian locality.  

The polar bear was seen climbing down the snow-covered hill to climb onto the nearby house roofs.

Can Baby Polar Bears Climb Mountains?

Yes, baby polar bears can climb mountains with their mother. However, they lack the strength to climb all types of mountains like adult polar bears. 

They mostly climb snowy mountains. The snow on the mountains provides them with support to climb up. 

Can Polar Bears Climb on a Christmas Tree?

Spruces (Christmas Tree Species) - Not a Tree Polar Bears Can Climb

No, it is not possible for a polar bear to climb a Christmas tree. These bears are too heavy to climb a Christmas tree. 

These bears don’t have the tree-climbing abilities required to climb any tree. So it’s impossible for them to climb Christmas trees.


In summary, polar bears can’t climb trees. And this is because of a few reasons:

One of the reasons is their heavy weight. They are also the largest land mammals. 

Additionally, the Arctic region where they live lacks trees. As their habitat lacks trees, polar bears couldn’t develop this skill.

Although polar bears cannot climb trees, they can climb mountains and cliffs. 

To learn how polar bears climb mountains, read Can Polar Bears Climb Mountains? 

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